As much as we daydream about it, it’s unlikely that the next flight we take will be in first class. ☹ First class may be luxurious, but there’s no reason that you can’t have just as good an experience (if not better) in coach. From checking into the airport to being squeezed in your seat mid-flight, here are some easy ways to make your experience flying cross-country feel like your experience is as good as it gets.
Check in at home
Surprise! You don’t need to check into your flight at the airport. Depending on the airline, you can print out your ticket at home or even virtually check in on the website to secure a boarding time to your flight. This way, you don’t have to wait in any long lines immediately after arriving at the airport.
Expect to be late
No, we’re not saying you should expect to wait an extra two hours for your flight to take off, but traveling cross-country usually has a few hiccups. Get ahead of the game and schedule padding time for each part of your travel, from going through security to taking off on the tarmac. The worst that can happen is that you’re ahead of schedule and have time to kill.
Once you find an airline you love, stick with it. The more you fly it, the more benefits you’ll accrue over time, ranging from best seat offerings to expedited check-in. Also, when you have a special request or concern with your flight, airline employees will be more likely to go the extra mile if you’re a frequent flyer.
Track your own luggage
If hearing stories about lost luggage trigger a panic attack, ease your mind by tracking your belongings with your own technology. Smart luggage trackers (like Trakdot) are specifically designed to work in airports and airplanes and link your suitcase’s information directly to your cell phone. Even if your luggage does go missing, you’ll know exactly where it is and how you can get it back.
B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Scent)
Sitting on a long flight can be uncomfortable, especially if the airplane smells start to drive you crazy. Pack a small (TSA-approved) bottle of your favorite essential oil for the flight to help you relax throughout the flight. Our personal picks? Vanilla and cedarwood; not only do they smell great, but they’re known for decreasing stress and will help with any flight anxiety.
Bring shopping bags
If you’re a serial over-packer, an easy way to avoid pesky additional fees is to look like you’ve recently purchased some of it. Ask an employee at the airport gift shop for a large shopping bag, and put your extra items in that. Yes, it’s a sneaky workaround, but most airline employees won’t ask you to check the bag since it looks like you’ve just purchased it.
When in doubt, ask
Asking for a free upgrade can go a long way, so long as you are respectful of the ground crew and airline employees. If you have a special circumstance (i.e. you’re on an anniversary trip, you have an important meeting to prep for) simply ask nicely – and be gracious no matter what the answer is.